Building the future of energy: Cummins Chairman and CEO discusses hydrogen at virtual global event

Hydrogen

In the race to develop more sustainable and renewable energy sources, hydrogen has re-emerged as a potential key solution in the transition to zero-emission mobility, and the world is talking about it. Tom Linebarger, the Chairman and CEO of Cummins recently joined top hydrogen technology innovators to discuss the future of hydrogen, both in commercial and industrial engine applications, during a virtual hydrogen forum hosted by the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE).

The IPHE forum brought together a number of industry and government leaders to identify the challenges, opportunities, policies, and mechanisms to accelerate global-scale deployments of hydrogen technologies. Among the panel were top industry executives from Engie North America, Nel, Hyundai Motor Group, and Air Liquide.

Watch: Global Hydrogen Forum 2020

During the forum, Linebarger emphasized there is a need for additional investment in hydrogen by the U.S. government and industry, while commending the work that has been led  by the U.S. Department of Energy.

“With a world that is feeling the economic ramifications of a global pandemic, I believe that governments and industries around the world need to make significant investments in order to reinvigorate the global economy,” said Linebarger. “When it comes to making hydrogen viable and to speed adoption, we need investment in hydrogen production as well as fueling infrastructure and funding to deploy fuel cell vehicles and equipment.”

Linebarger mentioned that more and more public companies are making commitments like Cummins to be carbon neutral by 2050 and that hydrogen is part of the path forward to meeting that goal. Investors increasingly understand the role that hydrogen can play in reaching this objective and their support of businesses pursuing the technology is growing.

"Scaling up existing hydrogen technologies will deliver competitive low-carbon solutions across a wide range of applications by 2030 and may even offer competitive low-carbon alternatives to conventional fuels in some segments," said Linebarger. "To reach this scale, there is a need for investment, policy alignment, and demand creation." 

The panel all agreed that hydrogen is an important power solution for applications in both on- and off-highway applications, and that hydrogen is a solution that can move us closer to a decarbonized world. It will require public and private investment across the globe and coordination among public and private entities to speed economic viability and adoption.  

Already a leader in advanced diesel, natural gas and electric technologies, Cummins is rapidly growing its hydrogen capabilities and the company continues to deepen its expertise in fuel cell technologies. Cummins uses fuel cell and hydrogen technologies to power a variety of applications, including transit buses, semi-trucks, delivery trucks and passenger trains, and has made several announcements in the past year related to fuel cell technologies. These include the acquisition of Hydrogenics Corporation in September 2019, providing Cummins with both proton exchange membrane (PEM), alkaline fuel cells, and electrolyzers used to generate hydrogen. Cummins has also invested in LOOP Energy, signed a memo of understanding with Hyundai Motor Company and invested in the development of solid oxide fuel cells. 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins Delivers Fuel Cells for Refuse Trucks in Europe

fuel cell refuse truck
Image courtesy of FAUN

Garbage is not a topic that many of us think about on a regular basis. Waste as an industry, when done correctly, gets little fanfare. However, the power and durability of a refuse truck is the backbone of the collection and transportation of waste. Though waste may not always make prime time news, the technologies that help with waste management have made great strides, and now Cummins is pushing it even further by providing fuel cells for some of the first licensed and commercially operational fuel cell refuse trucks in Europe. 

FAUN illustration
Image courtesy of FAUN

In partnership with leading European truck manufacturers, system integrators, waste management fleet operators and hydrogen infrastructure providers, Cummins is aiding in the development of fuel cell electric heavy-duty refuse trucks for the European market. To date, Cummins has provided more than 20 fuel cell power modules, often referred to as fuel cell “engines,” to a range of truck builders across Europe.  

Cummins recently supplied fuel cells for FAUN, a leader in waste collection vehicles and sweepers in Europe, for their electric refuse truck program. Each truck has 100% electric drive and is 100% emissions free with a range of up to 560 km, which is enough to run the collection route multiple times carrying 10 tons of waste.  

Fuel cell refuse truck
Image courtesy of FAUN

In addition to the electric motor and batteries, fuel cells are used to extend the range of the truck. Each truck contains three fuel cells - the number is determined by route requirements - with an output of up to 30kW per cell. Each truck has up to six hydrogen tanks, each with a capacity of four kilograms of hydrogen. The total weight of each vehicle is equal to that of a refuse truck equipped with a conventional engine, meaning payload is the same. These trucks will soon be on the road in multiple towns across Germany.   

Providing zero-emissions and noise reduction are some of the benefits of fuel cell technologies, benefits that are vital when operating in densely populated urban areas with strict emissions regulations. Proving technology viability means refuse trucks act as a persuasive first mover for other government vehicles, like buses and applications where current battery technology is not able to handle all requirements for heavier vehicles and longer ranges. As a result, in early spring, Cummins joined 43 other companies and pledged their support for the ‘Joint call for the deployment of hydrogen fuel cell trucks’ in Europe.  

With the help of Cummins technology waste just got a little bit cleaner.  

With more than 2,000 fuel cell systems in operation already, we’re excited to see what’s next! 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Batteries and Fuel Cells: Understanding differences and opportunities

Batteries & Fuel Cells

Energy systems across the globe are undergoing a fundamental transformation. As we continue to decrease dependence on fossil fuels, the world is demanding more diverse power solutions for our transportation needs. 

Cummins is proud to be at the forefront of this transportation evolution, working with freight and bus manufacturers and operators to design and deliver scalable, zero-emission electric transportation using both cutting edge battery and hydrogen fuel cell technologies. These technologies are well-positioned to make a real change in the transportation market, but the interplay between batteries and fuel cells is often misunderstood. Read on to learn how batteries and fuel cells are better together. 

INTEGRATION FOR BETTER POWER

Although fuel cell systems and batteries are seen by some as competing technologies, they actually work together to bring more options to the transportation and power landscape. 

At this point, battery electric vehicles are a technology that many of us know and love. From electric package delivery vans to all-electric excavators, there are already a number of fully electric powertrain applications that are growing in popularity.  

Although fuel cell systems and batteries are seen by some as competing technologies, they actually work together to bring more options to the transportation and power landscape.

Fuel cell power systems are designed to enhance and build upon the battery and electric drive platforms that continue to grow in prominence across the globe. While each system has its own advantages, combining the emerging technologies of batteries and fuel cell can help us reduce overall carbon and increase adoption of sustainable power without compromising performance. 

Fuel cell systems enhance the performance of batteries, allowing them to address distance and refueling time issues that have prohibited the adoption of battery electric vehicles for some applications. No matter how the engine and power source is configured, the battery system is and will always remain an essential piece of an electrified power solution. To this end, batteries will not be replaced by fuel cells — just enhanced by them. 

Drawing from over 100 years of experience in innovating powertrains, Cummins recognizes that diverse transportation markets need diverse solutions. To help foster the transition to cleaner power, Cummins is proud to provide a variety of diverse alternative power solutions. 

When considering which system is right for our customers, Cummins carefully considers range, weight, downtime, performance requirements, customer economics, and related infrastructure to provide the best options for the market — whether it’s fuel cell, battery electric or a more traditional form of power, we draw from our experience and expertise to work with customers and understand their needs. 


Fuel Cells & Electrified Power Infographic

STRENGTH IN DIFFERENTIATION

Comparing a battery and a fuel cell may be confusing as both can be used as sources of power, but in different ways. In battery electric vehicles, batteries store and deliver energy to the powertrain. A fuel cell electric vehicle generates electricity using hydrogen as fuel, and also delivers energy to the powertrain. The fuel cell can also charge the battery. The hydrogen itself acts as an energy carrier and storage device, much like a battery. However, most fuel cells configurations have limited ability to manage the powertrain energy demand in a dynamic fashion like batteries can. It’s the battery system that provides the quick response required to match the load demand from the powertrain.  

Fuel cells still provide a necessary enhancement to improve many of the performance and operational gaps we see in battery electric vehicles. Also, fuel cells have the potential to better utilize renewable energy on a large scale and increase the adoption of sustainable power sources faster. 

APPLICATION, PERFORMANCE AND OPERATION

In application, the largest difference between electric fuel cell and battery technology is found in their suitability for medium to heavy duty transport. When it comes to battery electric vehicles, maximum allowable axle weights constrain the number of battery packs that can be installed before compromising road weight limits and payload capacity. That’s why Cummins is continuously working to make our battery electric powertrain lighter and more efficient. 

Long distances and heavy payloads require larger and heavier batteries, and larger and heavier batteries lead to diminishing performance and efficiency. In some cases, operational requirements and patterns can be effectively served by battery electric vehicles before they hit the level of diminishing efficiency, where routes and payloads are not limiting factors — such as package delivery vehicles with shorter city routes and frequent stops. 

Ultimately, it’s not a matter of which technology is better — but rather which is more suitable to a customer’s conditions and needs.Fuel cell electric vehicles, on the other hand, can travel farther and carry more weight than their battery electric counterparts, making them more suitable for longer hauls and heavier loads. Fuel cell electric vehicles have a much higher energy density by weight, allowing them to overcome the range and weight challenges associated with battery electric vehicles. Hydrogen tanks are also more compact and lighter than an array of fully charged batteries. Plus, adding more hydrogen tanks typically costs less than adding more batteries. 

Operationally, another consideration between the technologies is the impact on vehicle downtime and overall utilization. Fuel cell electric vehicles can be refueled within minutes. This results in significantly less downtime than other alternative power solutions, allowing fuel cell vehicles to be on the road just as much as conventional vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine. 

Battery electric vehicles tend to be more useful when they can be recharged easily and have utilization patterns that allow for recharging downtime, such as a daily route that begins and ends at the same place, along with a designated charging depot. 

The continued cost evolution of infrastructure will also play an important role in the selection of the right powertrain. High power charging solutions, such as megawatt level charging, have the potential to not only reduce the charging time from hours to minutes, but also reduce the amount of on-board battery storage needed to effectively carry out a mission. Real-time or dynamic inductive charging may also contribute to reducing the onboard battery storage requirements. Battery electric vehicles would then be able to recharge themselves while in operation.  

Additionally, continued growth in the availability and distribution of hydrogen will reduce the challenges associated with hydrogen fuel costs, as well as ensuring the long-term availability of Lithium and Platinum, critical elements in batteries and hydrogen fuel cells respectively. Recycling and developing second life opportunities of these systems is also essential. 

POWERING A MORE SUSTAINABLE WORLD

Ultimately, it’s not a matter of which technology is better — but rather which is more suitable to a customer’s conditions and needs. Battery electric solutions can effectively serve many transportation sectors. Where they fall short, fuel cells can help accommodate.  

Cummins provides both technology options, giving our customers the power of choice backed by a century of expertise in the transportation market. Our future of transportation will be electrified, and Cummins is leading that change with a diverse portfolio of options. 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Norway’s Largest Grocery Wholesaler Gives Hydrogen a Spin

ASKO truck
Electric Scania trucks powered by Cummins’ hydrogen fuel cell modules

Four electric Scania trucks powered by Cummins’ hydrogen fuel cell modules are beginning operation in Trondheim, Norway as part of a first-of-its-kind pilot with ASKO, Norway’s largest grocery wholesaler. Focused on resource efficiency, low emissions and sustainable development for its extensive distribution network, ASKO has entered a new phase with the trucks being put on the road as part of their fleet. 
 
And it marks a new phase for Cummins too. This successful integration is one of many supported by Cummins’ new HyPM™ HD Fuel Cell Power Modules line up. With the acquisition of Hydrogenics, Cummins is now able to provide a full product line of hydrogen fuel cell modules with a track record of being successfully integrated into numerous heavy and medium duty trucks, buses, trains, planes and boats worldwide.  
 
“We are excited to see these trucks begin operation and are proud to provide marketing-leading solutions to ASKO and Scania that support their operational and sustainability goals.” said Amy Adams, Vice President - Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies at Cummins. “Our fuel cell power modules are well suited to address Norway’s climate and terrain conditions, and we look forward to obtaining valuable insights from their performance as part of ASKO’s fleet.” 
 
When ASKO began exploring alternative fuel and powertrain solutions for its truck fleet in 2017, hydrogen stood out as an appealing zero-emissions option for long haul electrified transport and early tests showed that the technology worked quite well in colder climates. The 27-ton trucks’ internal combustion engines have been replaced with an electric engine, which is powered by fuel cells fed with hydrogen and managed with rechargeable batteries. The lightweight hydrogen storage system, weighing in at 33 kilograms, provides the trucks with an impressive 400-500 km range using a single 90 KW High Density Fuel Cell Power Module.  
 
“We are happy to have the most competent partners contracted for this project, including Scania for the electric truck, and Cummins/Hydrogenics for the integrated fuel cell and tank system,” said Jørn Arvid Endresen, Chief Executive Officer of ASKO Mid Norway. 
 
This pilot is the first of its kind for ASKO and will serve as the basis for further learning and development for the fleet and operations. In addition, it is putting ASKO on the path to reducing energy consumption by 20 percent, becoming a self-sufficient provider of clean energy, using 100 percent renewable fuel.  
 
Learn more about hydrogen-based fuel cell solutions, which emit no pollutants from the tailpipe – just water! 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Hydrogen: From Firsts to Fruition

Cummins Hydrogen Firsts

The following was authored by Amy Adams, Vice President - Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Technologies at Cummins Inc.

Since 1919, Cummins has turned challenges into opportunities. We’re always looking for new solutions to power a more prosperous world — but the world has changed a lot since Cummins first opened for business. That’s why we’re living out our brand promise of innovation and dependability by expanding into new power sources.

Just as Cummins transformed diesel into a reliable, everyday power source 100 years ago, we now recognize hydrogen’s potential to transform mobility and fueling infrastructure to make fuel cells accessible on a large scale. We’re excited to have recently welcomed fuel cell and hydrogen production leader Hydrogenics as the newest addition to Cummins.

Hydrogenics’ talents, expertise and track record of delivering innovative hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen generation solutions made them stand out from other companies in the space. And because there are so many similarities between Hydrogenics and Cummins we knew we could form the perfect team.

The Hydrogenics team possesses the same entrepreneurial spirit and roll-up-your-sleeves approach that lives at the core of how Cummins does business. We both also boast a number of “firsts” that helped our customers and industries achieve new milestones.

For Cummins, these milestones make up a colorful history that began with building race cars for several Indianapolis 500 races, including the first car powered by diesel to complete the race without stopping in 1931. For Hydrogenics, monumental firsts range from the first hydrogen-powered public train to the first 1MW PEM fuel cell power generation system installed in Korea for critical power. Explore more hydrogen firsts below.

Cummins Hydrogen First - Infographic
Click on the image to explore a number of hydrogen firsts in our Hydrogen Firsts infographic. 

Going forward, Cummins will continue to build upon Hydrogenics’ legacy through fuel cell and green hydrogen generation products. By applying our latest technology in real-world settings, we’ll accomplish even more “firsts” and a few “seconds” and “thirds” as we progress in the hydrogen economy. 
 

Amy Adams - Cummins Inc.

Amy Adams

Amy Adams is Vice President – Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Technologies at Cummins, a global power leader. She is at the forefront of advancing Cummins’ vision to bring a diverse portfolio of power solutions to customers, working across the value chain to build and grow the company’s fuel cell and hydrogen production technologies portfolio globally. As part of this, Amy oversees the company’s hydrogen investments and partnerships, including the recently acquired Hydrogenics business.

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